Noli Indian School, Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians

San Jacinto, CA

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Noli Site Plan

The vision for the Noli Indian School is to provide a learning Community that celebrates academic and vocational achievement within the context of cultural heritage awareness.

Background and Context –The People of Soboba

The descendants of the Soboba people are those whom have lived on and occupied the land that is presently known as the cities of San Jacinto, Hemet, Valle Vista and Winchester. Today the Soboba Indians' nearly 7,000-acre reservation lies in the lower reaches of the San Jacinto Mountains, across the San Jacinto River from the city of San Jacinto. The Soboba Band has a current enrollment of approximately 1,200 tribal members. Soboba’s Tribal members have a rich and diverse Tribal history as members come from both Cahuilla and Luiseño ancestry. Prior to both Mexican and American settlement in the valley the people of Soboba were virtually self-sufficient.

The Noli Indian School
Opening its doors in 1990 with a mission to provide improved opportunities for Native American youth, the Noli School was recognized in 1994 by the BIA and became the first grant-funded school that is tribally governed. The school serves the educational needs for grades 6 through 12, is 100% Native American students and represents approximately 27 Tribes. The majority of students are bussed from 15 local reservations some as far away as 80 miles.

In 2011, JCJ Architecture and C.W. Driver Construction Company were selected by the Tribal Council to prepare a Master Plan and Feasibility Plan for a new Noli Indian School on the Soboba Reservation. Future student population projections predicted this school to have between 1,200 and 1,500 students within the next eight to ten years and it was determined the existing school’s site could not support the anticipated growth in enrollment.

Tribal members, teachers, administrators and school board members participated in a series of workshop forums. Areas of exploration focused on how the 21st century classroom is used to stimulate learning; ways that architecture can facilitate to inspire curiosity and foster excitement in group as well as individual learning; opportunities to share common functions within a school program; how to integrate sustainability into the classroom. There was a strong desire to develop a school that was focused around environmental considerations and for the school to be a learning laboratory for sustainability.